• Kyodo

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Japan striker and Hamburg SV player Naohiro Takahara is suffering a recurrence of the same pulmonary illness he had two years ago, team doctor Tsuguo Morikawa revealed on Friday.

Takahara, who was diagnosed with blood clots in his left lung, will be unable to take part in the June 9 World Cup qualifier between Japan and India, and his chances of making the national team for the AFC Asia Cup in July and the Athens Olympics in August are slim. The 24-year-old checked into a hospital on Thursday to undergo a two-day medical examination after experiencing chest pains a day earlier, but said the pain is not as bad as it was two years ago.

Takahara missed the 2002 World Cup, cohosted by Japan and South Korea, due to pulmonary embolus, a blockage of an artery in the lungs.

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